Time for a weekly round-up! - 1st June 2017

This is the first chance I've had to update my "daily" blog, so it's a quick tour of the week instead!

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Between campaigning, meeting people on the doorstep, phoning voters who want my views on their particular concerns and giving interviews, I have managed to make some really interesting visits to groups across the constituency.

I went to meet Mandy, the manager at the Highbury Trust. It was a really enjoyable visit, and it's not often that I get to shake hands with a dolphin! What really made an impact was the support they give at the Trust not only to the people who use the day-care centre, but also to their families - the carers who look after people for little or no financial support. I heard of care packages being reduced or removed because of costs. Highbury Trust also offer an appointee system, currently this is free but soon people will be charged, which means that money given for their personal care will have to be used. I will spend time reviewing all of this, to really get to the bottom of how all this funding works as it affects how the services are commissioned as well. What I do know is that Labour will increase the carers' allowance, meaning that there will be some respite from the continual financial stress that there is on top of the emotional and physical strain of being a carer.

Next it was on to the soup lunch at St Budeaux Church community Hall (excellent soup and homemade cake - what is not to enjoy about that!) I met local people, who were really warm-hearted and welcomed me enthusiastically, and I had a long discussion with Steven about CAP (Christians Against  Poverty), encouraging people into the church for support in their lives and to help debt management. A reminder of the importance of the voluntary third sector, and of how we all look after each other every day.

I also took part in a Churches Together Hustings at North Plymouth Community Church. There was a good selection of questions, and some unusual ones too, but there was a theme: People. Questions included Brexit, education funding and the effect it has on teaching, rising use of food banks and the way we deal with poverty, defence cuts and their impact on Plymouth, my opinion on assisted suicide and the end of life discussion, legalisation of cannabis, the NHS, support for young people and housing, the Bedroom Tax and more. It's hard to be an instant expert on every policy under the sun, so I try to speak from the heart. It might feel like answering questions on Mastermind, but you can never be wrong if you just speak honestly and don't try to waffle or give an impression of being someone you aren't.

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I've also filmed a short short video about defence, so important for Plymouth, and an issue that I really wanted to be clear about for Plymouth voters. The Tories are still putting scare stories out about Labour's policies. We will continue to renew Trident as a nuclear deterrent,  We guarantee we will spend 2% of GDP on defence as our commitment to NATO, and importantly we will support veterans and improve service personnel housing. This is really important at the moment, as the recent MoD report into armed forces morale makes shocking reading.  Click on the graph to read the full report.

Over the next seven days I will be out across the whole of Plymouth Moor View, and I hope to meet as many people as possible. If you ever have a particular question for me, do email at sue@suedannforplymouth.com.

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